Thursday, August 27, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Grilled Sturgeon with Lemon Caper Sauce & the Sturgeon Moon

This Saturday, on August 29, we'll be seeing a full moon that is called a Sturgeon Moon.

I know I usually post a drink recipe when full and new moons are coming.
But, I posted the recipes for two Whiskey Sour recipes a few days ago in honour of National Whiskey Sour Day.
So that’s my booze contribution for this week.
This is a G rated food blog after all.

In honour of the Sturgeon Moon I’m posting a sturgeon recipe Ma had clipped, adjusted and forwarded to me.

Time for a disclaimer:
No sturgeons were injured in making this post.
Yes, I know the recipe calls for sturgeon.
Tell that to my local butcher/fish monger.

I live in the north end of Winnipeg.
There are limits to what I can find in my local stores.
I’m over 65 and I’m not about to waste what time I have left searching for a fish.
I’m just cooking a dinner, not going on a mythical quest.
Captain Ahab’s obsession for Moby Dick always struck me as a bit compulsive.

Back to my local butcher/fish monger…
He explained that sturgeons are at risk of total extinction.
They are slow growing and slow to mature.
So they don’t make many babies.
Especially since a ton of their eggs are made into caviar.

I also got an education on how they make caviar.
It ain’t pretty.
They stun the fish and extract the ovaries.
Ovaries are where ovaries usually are, so, yes, we’re talking blood.
Or they do a C section, as if that makes a difference.
This is very painful and stressful for the fish.
No fooling.
A kinder method involves making a small cut in the fish’s urogenital muscle.
Most caviar makers aren’t all that touchy feely.

The kindest way to eat caviar is to buy a caviar substitute made from seaweed.
Your vegetarian guests will love you forever for serving it.

Sturgeon can also be a problem if you’ve invited your Jewish friends.
Sturgeon have ganoid scales instead of the permitted ctenoid and cycloid scales. 
While all Orthodox groups forbid the consumption of sturgeon, some conservative groups do allow it.
Don’t give your Jewish friends the third degree.
Play it safe and don’t serve them sturgeon.

In England and Wales, the sturgeon, along with whales and porpoises, is a royal fish.
Every sturgeon caught in those countries is the property of the Crown.
Remember what they did in Robin Hood’s day to peasants who shot the king’s deer?
Queen Elizabeth's job has been hard enough, what with her kids and all.
Don't push your luck.  
You might not catch her on a good day.

This recipe calls for something hefty, like a mackerel or tuna.
You can also use skinless, boneless chicken breast.
Which is always available, and is often on sale.
That’s what Ma did.

Maybe her butcher/fish monger gave her the same guilt trip.
The north end of Winnipeg is just the Canadian version of Queens.
Anyway, Ma liked finding another caper sauce recipe.
The butter base was a little change from her caper sauce with olive oil.

Chicken breast can be eaten with a clear conscience by your Jewish friends.
Your vegetarian friends won’t like it, but at least the Queen won’t have you arrested.


On the off chance you actually find sturgeon in the store:
It is a meaty fish that can be served baked, fried, smoked, or grilled. 
Its flesh won’t flake when it’s done. 
Don’t overcook it because it will just become tough with a more fishy flavour.

The grill should be 4 inches from the coals.
Prepare a medium hot fire in a grill, either charcoal or gas.
Or preheat the gas grill or broiler.
When the grill is ready, wipe the grilling surface with a towel soaked in vegetable oil to coat the grill plates.

You can also serve the sauce in a gravy boat.
Some folks don't like lemon or capers.
No problem.

                        Grilled Sturgeon

Serves 4

Lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil
4 sturgeon fillets, about 1/2 pound each, skin removed 
Season with
salt and pepper to taste

Place the fish on the prepared grill.
Do not move or disturb once placed on the grill.
Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
Remove from heat, cover, and let rest.

                        Lemon Caper Sauce

Place in a small pot
4 Tablespoons butter
Melt butter over medium heat.
1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
Sauté for about a minute.
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon capers
Sauté for another minute.
Remove from heat and add
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Place the sturgeon fillets on a serving platter.
Spoon the sauce over the fillets.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

About the moon this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

August 29 – Full Sturgeon Moon at 2:35 p.m.  The visible moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Although the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered full for the entire day of the event and appears full for three days.
It is also called "Corn Moon", "Red Moon", "Green Corn Moon" and "Grain Moon”.

August 30 – The Moon will be at perigee, meaning it’s nearest point to Earth in its orbit. Because perigee comes less than a day after the Moon is at its “full” phase, many are calling this a “supermoon.”

August 31 – Neptune will be at opposition.  Nothing personal.


  1. Hi Margaret, our trip to France was just the two of us and a rental car! Challenging but fun. Luckily I have a smidge of French so that helped. Cheers

  2. Hi, Carole,
    Your trip sounds fantastic! And the pictures on your blog were gorgeous!

    Thanks for sharing :-)


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